If ever this Country needed people to work together, to think of each other and support each other that time is now. In circumstances which are the most challenging since the Second World War we may be facing yet another crisis in our battle against the virus.
Yesterday Lord Frost resigned from the Government. Frost is a major cause of the failure of Brexit negotiations which have led to supply chain shortages in the shops and for manufacturers. His abject failure to negotiate a lasting settlement was not the reason for this (he claims) but because the Government is putting taxes up and interfering with our basic human rights through pre-Christmas restrictions on certain activities including the compulsory wearing of masks and putting up taxes to deal with the problems caused by the virus.
He wasn’t on the streets of Westminster on Saturday but about 2,000 people were. These were the anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers who believe that:
- The virus doesn’t exist.
- If it does it’s not serious.
- That the vaccine is a device to let Bill Gates know what we are all doing.
- That the vaccine is, in fact, a poison.
- That the vaccine is being spread by evil forces determined to bring down our democratic state.
- That wearing a mask is an attack on our civil liberties.
Of course, even in the warped minds of the anti-vaxxers all these things cannot be true as they contradict each other! Their behaviour was absolutely disgraceful. They spat at the Police, used force against the Police and destroyed and damaged other people’s property. I am a great believer in civil liberties and the right to demonstrate. But rights bring responsibilities. The responsibility on demonstrators is to respect the law and to protest peacefully and legally.
These people are two sides of the same coin and effectively support and feed each other. Lord Frost and his ilk are wittingly or unwittingly dragging these ill-educated people onto the streets.
A couple of weeks ago my colleague, Cllr Kris Brown, went to participate in a debate on the vaccination programme. Debate was very difficult because facts meant nothing to the anti-vaxxers who disrupted the discussions and were threatening in their behaviour both inside and outside the debating chamber. Fortunately, this behaviour is very unusual in Liverpool but regrettably it’s on the increase.
But we mustn’t let the bad people’s views and opinions prevail. Last week I went into the city centre and back again by bus. As far as I could see every single teenager and adult wore a mask and wore it properly. That was also true the week before on my train to and from London and the 4 tubes that I took within it.
I went into both my local Londis and a small ASDA on Penny Lane. In all cases people were wearing masks.
Clearly, in my area (Penny Lane), more people have returned to working from home. More would like to work from home but are prevented from doing so by Grinch like employers.
People have been queuing for hours to get a first, second or third jab.
I have seen in the national press two examples of where Christmas parties were cancelled but the self-denied party goers insisted on paying for the food, which helped the business and took the food to a homeless project. That’s real generosity.
Many people are going back into a self-imposed lockdown mode and will be getting a takeaway. Not so good as eating in the restaurant owners but it will help them stay afloat.
In my family and in countless others we have been debating how we can safely meet our 3 children and their partners and our 5 grandchildren. Original plans for a buffet in our house on Christmas Eve have been abandoned. We will now exchange presents and have some treats on Erica’s allotment where we can be outside and socially distanced.
My son and his Italian wife have decided that for a second year they will miss Christmas with Valentina’s Mum in Naples. They’ve only seen her once in two years.
That’s the real story of this Christmas. It’s not the hapless Tories in their big houses or the anti-vaxxers on the streets. It’s the quietly determined majority of people who are determined to support the NHS by caring for themselves, their families, and the neighbours. When people talk of World War II and the bulldog spirit, these are the people who are replicating it in 2021/22.
So please play safe in the last few days before Christmas by:
- Getting Lateral Flow tested (they are starting to arrive again).
- Get PCR tests if you think you may be positive
- Self-isolate if you are positive of a family member is positive
- Think carefully about your social activities in the next few days and prioritise the really important ones.
- Wear a mask in all public spaces and on public transport
- Get vaccinated or boosted if you have not yet done so.
The Tories and the anti-vaxxers don’t speak for me. Show that they don’t speak for you either by showing your community spirit and carry on caring, sharing and supporting all those around you. As the old trades union motto says so rightly, “Unity is Strength”.